Page last updated at 09:53 GMT, Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Sherwood Forest plans on display

Plans for new visitors' centre
The new centre will be completed by the autumn

Plans for a 10.5m visitors' centre in Nottinghamshire's Sherwood Forest have gone on public display as part of a consultation run by the county council.

The current Sherwood Forest visitor centre, which was built in 1977, will be replaced allowing the woodland where it is located to be restored.

The new centre is expected to open in the autumn of 2010 or early in 2011.

It will generate additional annual income of 7.5m in the area and create 300 spin-off jobs, officials said.

Oak trees

The current centre attracts 400,000 visitors a year, but this is a decline from a high of 750,000 visitors in 1991.

Plans include a retail area, classrooms, a film presentation on the history of the forest and a conference centre.

There are also plans to plant 3,000 oak trees on the new site to create new areas of Sherwood woodland and heathland for the future.

The new centre will be within walking distance of the Major Oak, reputed to have been the hideout of Robin Hood.

"There will be plenty of space for a great Robin Hood exhibition and an exhibition on the history of Sherwood Forest," council spokeswoman Linda Hardy said.

"Careful removal of the existing visitors centre will allow the site to be restored to woodland and heathland and take the pressure off the declining number of veteran oaks, many of which are over 500 years old," a council statement said.

The plans will be on display at Edwinstowe Library and other locations across the county as well as in the main city library in Nottingham until 23 January.

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